Denis Carter, Lord Carter of Devizes, who has died at 74, had a lifetime’s experience in agriculture. For many years he was a consultant to big farming interests before becoming Labour’s chief whip in the Lords during the discussions over its reform. His sharp-minded contributions to agricultural debates were under-reported, including his criticisms of American and EU agricultural protectionism. This was particularly true of his early warnings about the animal wastes which continued to be included in animal feed and, in the wake of the BSE epidemic, were belatedly banned.
His political career had begun in 1970 when he fought the hopeless Basingstoke constituency for Labour. In 1987 he was made a life peer. Within a year, Carter was also added to Labour’s social security team in the Lords, a tribute mainly to his knowledge of disability acquired in helping his blind daughter.
As chief whip in the Lords till 2002, he concentrated on installing younger recruits and, latterly, “culling” most hereditaries on the Tory side.
He is survived by his wife, Teresa; his son and daughter predeceased him.
Denis Victor Carter, Baron Carter of Devizes, politician, born January 17 1932; died December 18 2006.